Creeks and rivers are full of shrimp! One fisherman said in about twenty casts he had about two quarts. That’s pretty good! Shrimp are still a little small but most part ideal for fishing. As tides build in the next few days anticipate some shrimp to be pulled into the sounds. Nonetheless there should be plenty of bait shrimp for those casting a net. The seatrout bite has ranged from average to excellent. On some days seatrout are biting fast and furious. On other days catching a few is good. Catching seatrout is all about the drift and finding clean water. Some tarpon are in. We have been seeing one or two tarpon while trout fishing. Large numbers of tarpon have yet to push in. Although large menhaden are in the sounds and around the beach fronts. With large bait in it wont be long till predators fish find them: tarpon, large sharks, jacks, spanish and even kings. Look for baits being pushed to the surface or pelicans working the bait. Large bait, large fish. While trout fishing a nice tarpon cruised between our boat and a shell rake. The 70 or 80 pound tarpon cruised against the current as gentle as you please. Jon’s took a cast at the tarpon which landed well onto the shells. Fish fever! I told him not to worry had we hook up that fish likely would have jumped and landed on the shells. The fish was within a couple of feet of the shell rake. Jon and Sydney landed a few large black tips earlier in the morning then we switched to trout fishing. Fishing has been good!
The shark bite is changing. There have been lots of small sharks in local waters. Bonnet heads are still plentiful. The large concentration of atlantic sharp nose appear to have moved out of Warsaw. Large sharks are in! A couple of reports of lots of black tip sharks north of Savannah. The word has been pretty consistent some tarpon are in local waters. Look for more tarpon in the coming weeks. Those targeting reds on the flats are finding fish more difficult. As tidal flats heat up small fish push in. Redfish usually will seek deeper cooler water as conditions heat up. Look for the best inshore days when there is cloud coverage. High pressure, clear sky, little breeze often means slow fishing. We’ve had many days with lots of cloud coverage. Usually the best bet during the summer is to start fishing early and try to be off the water by two. Usually around one thirty in the afternoon a sea breeze will kick in. This breeze is out of the east and typically brisk. Lots of seatrout in all size ranges. Good fishing now and an indicator of good fishing this fall! Lots of little redfish around. It’s common to catch a redfish or two in your cast net. One fisherman said he recently caught a couple of keeper spanish while throwing his cast net for some menhaden. Plenty of small three inch finger mullet as well as larger mullet in the rivers .
In the past few weeks we’ve hooked up landed dozen of big black tips. One thing that I keep saying is “the bend is your friend”. Let the rod fight the fish. In just a couple of fights a fisherman can get experience what its like to fight a large fish. Last week a charter, Hurricane Mike, hooked up, fought and successfully landed several large fish. We got a few glimpses, two or three, at a silver king but did not hook up one that day. When large baits are in and the water quality is good large fish wont be far behind!
As July winds down tides are increasing. Large tides are in the evening and not over 8.4 feet. Despite large tides fishing should be good! Expect fishing to be slower on days with little or no cloud coverage. Try to avoid the heat of the day. Fish early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Contrary to conventional thought a few stripers being landed as well as some trout in rivers that have a fresh water source. Shrimp are doing well. Crabs are doing fair to poor. Not sure why crabs are hard to come by.
That’s all! Hope this report of interest and help! Practice catch and release and support your local CCA Chapter.
Good fishing! Capt. Jack McGowan